Tuesday, 19 June, 2018

Trump, SKorea's Moon Agree to Boost Seoul's Missile Capabilities

Theresa May Kim GETTY TENSION Theresa May has flown into the North Korean warzone as the missile crisis escalates
Preston Stone | 04 September, 2017, 11:40

The bombing exercise came as the United States and South Korea wrapped up their annual Ulchi Freedom Guardian joint military drills that involved tens of thousands of soldiers.

Park Soo-hyun, the spokesman for Seoul's presidential office, said the leaders had reached an agreement in principle to loosen - "to the extent hoped by the South Korean side" - limits on the South's ballistic missile capability.

The newspaper also bragged about how the U.S. and its regional allies failed to track Pyongyang's two intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) tests in July, which raised concerns about the possibility of North Korea striking a United States target.

By firing a missile over Japan and putting the Asia-Pacific, including Guam and its major US military base, on notice for more tests, North Korea may have won itself greater military space in a region dominated by enemies.

Trump, who has warned that the US military is "locked and loaded" in case of further North Korean provocation, reacted angrily to the latest missile test, declaring on Twitter that "talking is not the answer" to resolving the crisis. "We take North Korea extremely seriously, and all options are on the table".

"The U.S. has been talking to North Korea, and paying them extortion money, for 25 years".

Trump and Moon spoke on the phone Friday about North Korean's "continued destabilizing and escalatory behavior", the White House said in a statement.

Pyongyang has warned of more similar tests to come.

Trump threatens to stop trading with countries doing business with North Korea
South Korean President Moon Jae-In, once an advocate of dialogue with the North, called for the "strongest punishment". It was Pyongyang's sixth, and the most powerful nuclear test, which was set to raise tension in the region.

"It is believed that the United States is positive toward rotational deployment of F-22 and F-35B jets over Korea as it remains firm in countering North Korea's provocations", a government source said.

It added that Trump provided his "conceptual approval" of South Korea's purchase of American military equipment worth billions of dollars, without adding further details.

They have also alarmed South Korea's allies in the region and around the world.

South Korea's president tried late on Sunday (Sept 3) to dismiss talk of a dispute between Seoul and Washington over how to deal with North Korea following its sixth nuclear test, after President Donald Trump criticised the South Korean approach as "appeasement".

The US has periodically sent strategic assets to South Korea, including B-1B bombers, as a show of force when North Korea's provocative acts escalate.

Trump's tweet was even more puzzling, analysts say, because Trump himself - both as a candidate and as president - had repeatedly suggested he would be willing to talk to North Korea's leader, Kim Jong Un.

Allowing South Korea to have longer range missiles could put pressure on China to exert influence over North Korea, Schuster said, because the Chinese will see that as creating a potential threat to them, too.

"We are neer out of diplomatic solutions", Mr Mattis said.

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